The incredibly sad thing about the mass shooting in my neighborhood last Sunday night is that its not an isolated case…  Far from it, in fact the more it happens in every corner of our world the more we become accustom to it and the more numb it makes us all feel…it unfortunately becomes the norm.

I’m struggling to understand the motivation for such a heinous act, is it mental illness as many want us to believe, or perhaps the culmination of a life lived on the outer fringes of our society with no way in or maybe even someone looking for a way to be remembered, albeit infamously.

Whatever the reason these random acts of violence on innocent people is a blight on our society.  Once a rarity, now far too common with inconceivable collateral damage from Sunday night alone and two young lives taken and a further 13 with serious injuries…oi vey!

I live about a mile from where the shootings took place, and although I initially heard the sirens I had assumed that it was just another 911 emergency call, but as the number, and indeed volume of sirens increased my spidey senses pricked up, particularly once all the sirens melded into a single wail then I knew it was much more than your standard emergency call.

As I watched the news flash come across the screen, and began watching the eye witness accounts and hearing the traumatized victims tell their stories it was heart wrenching…  There is no other way to describe it.

My neighborhood, which is, and which will always remain a hot bed of nightlife with its restaurants, cafe’s, gelato shops in Toronto’s near east end has had its vibrant confidence shaken to its very core.  Time will tell if it can regain its resilient and inclusive self…it would be a sad day if it didn’t rise to this extreme adversity and rally around to move forward in a positive way.

It’s clear that Toronto is no longer the safe haven, nor the quiet backwater of civility that it likes to portray itself as, nope we’re living up to our billing of being the fourth largest metropolitan city in North America and as such are stuck square in the crosshairs of gun violence whether we like it or not.

Canadians are known universally for their welcoming, friendly and warm inclusivity, their “bonhomie” if you will, yet here we are, like many other countries afflicted with gun violence.  Here are just a couple of statistics that I researched for this story which blew my mind…

Between 2015 and 2016 there was a 163% increase in gun violence in Canada.  Yes, as we know a far cry from 56,000 acts perpetrated in the US annually, and to be honest our 922 seems a paltry number indeed, but think about that in terms of a 163% increase year over year and now you know why there is mounting concern.  This year alone is shaping up to be potentially the worst in Toronto history for gun violence.

Now, that being said there was a very positive development this past Tuesday night, with the City council voting 41-4 to approve a motion to urge the federal government to forbid the sale of handguns in the city and for the province to outlaw the sale of handgun ammunition in Toronto. Indeed a small step but you have to begin somewhere…right?

As a parent I was devastated to learn that an 10 year old girl and and an 18 year old woman were the two fatalities of the shooting…so young and with their lives ahead of them, yet what gets me most is the randomness of it all.

Can you imagine going out for dinner with your family or perhaps an after dinner cappuccino or gelato with your loved ones and something like this happens.  How could you ever breath again without it hurting, a pain so deep that you would rather die than go on, but go on you must for the sake of your remaining family and those around you who are also feeling the trauma.  To bear the unbearable…

It would be a ache that would never cease…a part of your very being taken away, your lifeblood gone in an instant, with no chance to say all the things that you wanted to, to hold them just one more time and tell them how much you love them…

its a moment like this that you take to reflect on how important your children are to you.  I’m already a sentimental dad who loves his kids with all his heart, so its a times like this that I hug them a little tighter and tell them how much I love them each and every day.

I know I’m not alone in feeling this way but am brokenhearted for the families impacted by this weeks tragedy so close to home, and concern for my local community…

One of the true strengths of Toronto is the diversity of culture and feeling of community, no matter what country you come from you’re quickly embraced into being both a Canadian and quite proudly a Torontonian!  We rally around each other in times of need and are supportive and helpful no matter what.

I’m hoping that everyone will come out and join us for the annual Taste of the Danforth (August 10 -12) festival and show their support for my  local community.

Okay, I will get off my soapbox now… 🙂